OU (16-3) allowed three runs in the second and three runs in the sixth en route to its third straight loss.
Two of the three runs in the second inning came on mistakes by Sooner pitchers. One scored on a fielding error by freshman starting pitcher Jordan John, who lasted 1 1/3 innings, with the bases loaded, and the other was plated on a bases-loaded walk by sophomore Jack Mayfield.
Then with a 4-3 lead and two outs in the sixth inning, Mayfield threw a curve to the backstop that allowed the tying run to score.
But the Sooners’ sixth inning mix-ups didn’t end there.
After a single that brought in Arizona State’s fifth run and to put runners on the corners, OU fell for a play that all college teams practice to defend early in the preseason. The Sun Devils called a delayed steal, and the runner on third scored before the Sooners could tag out the runner between first and second to plate the game’s final run.
Those four mistakes led to four runs and a loss, but OU fans shouldn’t push the panic button just yet.
The Sooners did plate four runs, the most since last Friday’s 11-4 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock, and collected more hits (7) than they did in the previous two games combined (6).
Although the hit numbers increased in the finale, though, OU struck out 26 times in the series, which is sometimes the hits total in other multi-game series this season.
But two players did have productive nights at the plate.
Junior third baseman Garrett Buechele led all Sooner hitters by going 2-for-4 with a double, and junior catcher Tyler Ogle also brought in two runs with a double in the fifth inning. Ogle went 1-for-3.
Other than seeing the bats not be held to less than five hits, the only other positive that came out of this loss was Mayfield.
He earned the loss but also threw 4 1/3 good innings following the bases-loaded walk and before giving up the lead. He may not have lived up to the style of performance OU got accustomed to last year with Jeremy Erben, who’s currently playing in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and attended the two games in Tempe, but he did show signs that he could be the team’s bridge guy.
The recent string of losses wasn’t exactly what head coach Sunny Golloway wanted from his team going into its first conference series of the season.
The Sooners will square off against the Texas A&M Aggies starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Norman. Not only will OU have to figure out how to hit on a consistent basis again, but it’ll need to get a good start from its starting pitcher, senior Michael Rocha, for the first time since the senior last stepped on the mound.
Although Sooner fans’ collective hands may be hovering over the panic button, this lull will pass. So keep that in mind before completely jumping off the bandwagon that filled up during OU’s 16-game winning streak that started this high-expectation-filled season.